This week’s short story is brought to you by the prompt, “compromise.”
I hope you enjoy the story.
Agatha stared at the assignment given by her English teacher. She had written many book reports in her lifetime. She had written essays, created posters, and had done oral presentations on books, but she had never done it with a partner before. Her teacher said she wanted them to work in groups of three on a report for the book they recently finished to make it seem like a mock book club.
Normally, Agatha wouldn’t see this as a bad assignment. She enjoyed reading and loved discussing books. She thought giving an oral presentation in the form of a mock book club was a unique idea that she had never heard of before. The only problem was that it was harder to create a mock book club when the other group members didn’t want to be part of the book club in the first place.
First, there was Miles. He was the sporty type and tended to get away with never doing his homework because football practice ran late. This was especially true in their history class since their teacher was also the football coach. Agatha didn’t agree with it but it didn’t have anything to do with her so she didn’t give it too much thought. But now she needed to do a report with him and Miles hadn’t even read the book yet. (They were supposed to be reading this book on their own for the past three weeks.)
Second, there was Violet. She was the quiet type, didn’t have too many friends (at least, not that Agatha had noticed), and rarely spoke up in class. She seemed to be a good student, always had her homework done, but Agatha knew doing an oral presentation with Violet wasn’t going to be as easy as it seemed. Agatha didn’t like speaking in front of the class either but she always managed. Every time they had presentations though, Agatha had noticed that Violet never presented. Agatha didn’t know what sort of special treatment Violet seemed to have, but it didn’t seem as though doing a mock book club in front of the class was going to be something Violet wanted to do.
Agatha knew she’d manage. If she needed to carry the group, that was fine. She didn’t mind. She had done that with so many group projects over the course of her life – even in elementary school – that it didn’t phase her anymore. It was more so of the fact that she was going to have to mock a book club in front of the class with someone who had never read the book and someone else who, potentially, wouldn’t even be in the front of the class with them.
They had picked names out of a jar to choose their group members so there was no turning back. Agatha had no choice but to work with Miles and Violet.
The bell rang causing Agatha to jump in her seat. She missed everything else her teacher had said for the rest of the class. She sighed to herself, closing her notebook and binder, leaving the assignment paper on top. She clicked her pen open, gathered her things in her arms, and made her way over to Miles and Violet’s desks. Violet sat behind Miles on the other side of the room and, luckily for Agatha, both were slow to get up and move onto their classes. Agatha knew that if they made it out of the classroom, she’d never find them in the shuffle of the hallway in between classes – Miles especially. He always seemed to have a crowd around him.
“Hey, guys. I’m Agatha,” she said, wincing at her own introduction. Of course they knew who she was. They’ve all been attending school together since kindergarten.
Violet didn’t move. Her nose was inside a book (not the assigned book for class) and she didn’t seem to be in a hurry to make it to her next class. Miles, on the other hand, slowly stood from his desk with his nose in buried in a group text chat on his phone.
Agatha never understood how some people attended school without bothering to bring so much a pencil.
Agatha cleared her throat, stepping in front of Miles so that he couldn’t get away. “Hey, we’re working on this project together. Can we pick a date we can all get together to work on this thing?”
Miles peeled his gaze away from his phone, looking Agatha up and down. “What assignment?”
“I don’t like going to people’s houses,” Violet said, turning the page of her book.
Agatha’s shoulders dropped. “Okay… well, can we pick a day and time to meet at the library or something?”
“I’m always at the library so just let me know when you’ll be there,” Violet replied, still not looking up from her book.
Miles raised a brow at Violet before turning his attention back to Agatha. “Uh… okay? Just let me know when. But I’m not available Monday through Sunday.”
Agatha mustered up all she could to not drop her jaw. “What is that supposed to mean? When can we work on this project then?”
“Maybe we can work on it on our own.” Miles shouldered his way past Agatha and exited the classroom before she could reply.
“Yeah, that sounds good to me.” Violet closed her book, standing from her desk, and leaving the classroom as well.
Agatha groaned. This was going to be much harder than she anticipated. It looked as though they wouldn’t be compromising on the book club duties. She’d be doing everything herself… as usual.
She tucked the assignment into her notebook so it didn’t accidentally fly out of her hands. She tightened her grip on her things and left the classroom. When she made it out into the hall, she looked to her left seeing Miles surrounded by his football buddies, laughing and seemingly having a small party during the five-minutes in between classes. She looked to her right and found Violet sitting on a bench in a corner of the hall with her book.
Agatha sighed. She was going to have her work cut out for her when she got home.